Consumer Sentiment Builds as U.S. Adds to Momentum in China and Europe (Report Preview)
The United States joined China and many European economies in recording an increase in consumer sentiment in February, helping to lift a GDP-weighted measure of Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment by 2.0%.
An uptrend in confidence in place in the United States since July 2022 reasserted itself in February as consumers’ optimism was buoyed by slowing inflation and a strong labor market.
Cooling inflation has helped boost sentiment, but the global battle against inflation remains far from won. Tighter monetary conditions will weigh on demand in 2023, but recent bank failures in the United States have also illuminated the trade-off between fighting inflation and maintaining financial stability.
This memo offers a preview of Morning Consult’s March Global Consumer Confidence Report. Morning Consult Economic Intelligence subscribers can access the full report here.
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While the number of countries that saw gains in consumer confidence slowed from 31 in January to 21 in February, Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment saw sizable increases in some of the world’s largest economies, buoying a GDP-weighted measure of global sentiment.
A broad uptrend in consumer confidence in the United States that began in July 2022 reasserted itself in February, with the Morning Consult U.S. Index of Consumer Sentiment increasing by 1.5% month over month. On the other hand, sentiment in Canada remains depressed despite cooling inflation.
Monthly % change (January to February)
Consumers in China continued to grow more optimistic about the economy and their personal finances in February. With plenty of excess savings in their pockets and a yearning to re-engage in activities restricted during the pandemic, Chinese consumers have the potential to provide a serious boost to economic activity in 2023. And, with major economies around the world facing headwinds from high inflation and tight monetary policy, a strong Chinese consumer could provide a buttress to otherwise sagging global demand.
The Index of Consumer Sentiment also rose in 11 of the 16 European countries tracked by Morning Consult, with an average month-over-month change of 2.0%. The largest increases came in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. However, inflation is beginning to look more persistent in the eurozone, and in France, where inflation has bounced higher again, consumer confidence has waned.
While cooling inflation has helped buoy consumers’ optimism, especially in Europe, the battle against global inflation remains far from won. Central banks have tightened monetary policy at a rapid clip in much of the world, and that will ultimately take its toll on demand in 2023. Additionally, rapid changes in financial conditions have exposed the challenges of aggressively fighting inflation while maintaining financial stability, with several bank failures in the United States in March adding to recession fears.
About this report
Morning Consult’s monthly Global Consumer Confidence Report provides a comprehensive assessment of the economic views and expectations of consumers across major global economies.
Businesses and investors rely on this report to understand emerging trends in consumer demand and personal finances.
The report draws on Morning Consult Economic Intelligence, a high-frequency data set reflecting more than 17,000 daily economic surveys across 43 of the world’s largest economies.
While the data in this report is primarily presented as a monthly average, the underlying data is collected, processed and reported daily as part of Morning Consult Economic Intelligence.
Full methodology and average daily sample sizes per country can be found here.
John Leer leads Morning Consult’s global economic research, overseeing the company’s economic data collection, validation and analysis. He is an authority on the effects of consumer preferences, expectations and experiences on purchasing patterns, prices and employment.
John continues to advance scholarship in the field of economics, recently partnering with researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to design a new approach to measuring consumers’ inflation expectations.
This novel approach, now known as the Indirect Consumer Inflation Expectations measure, leverages Morning Consult’s high-frequency survey data to capture unique insights into consumers’ expectations for future inflation.
Prior to Morning Consult, John worked for Promontory Financial Group, offering strategic solutions to financial services firms on matters including credit risk modeling and management, corporate governance, and compliance risk management.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy with honors from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in economics and management studies (MEMS) from Humboldt University in Berlin.
His analysis has been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Economist and more.
Jesse Wheeler is a senior economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where he delivers insights on economic and geopolitical trends impacting the United States and major global markets.
Prior to joining Morning Consult, Jesse worked as an economic and political risk analyst at MUFG Bank, where he focused on U.S. fiscal, monetary and foreign policy, and at Fitch Solutions, where he conducted macroeconomic research and forecasting for Latin American markets.
Jesse received a bachelor’s degree in history and environmental science from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in international economics from George Washington University.